Tar pit bones yield climate clues

Insect damage to ancient bones reveals length of ‘summer’ during the last ice age

By Sid Perkins, 12:31 PM July 23, 2013

During the last ice age, more than 12,000 years ago, many unusual creatures wandered Southern California. Some got trapped in tar pits there. Now, their preserved remains are providing scientists with clues about summer weather during that bygone era.

 

The fossils indicate the Los Angeles area had a summer season that at times stretched to four months, maybe more. Considering it was the “ice age,” that came as a surprise, says Anna Holden. As a paleoentomologist, she studies ancient insects. S...

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